Summer School – 5

There are several items that are worthy of note, but which span and serve as a general background to the week’s activity. I will list them here.

The most notable is the fact that most of the people attending the summer school, even if it is their first time, already know each other from the message boards on the CGC website. In addition to the various learning activities provided, there is a very active online community. I have not seen an online group with a spirit like this since the mid-1990’s. There are no trolls, and there has never been a flame war. Members are adults, respectful and interested in using the forum to share with others who are going through the same challenges. The result is that when people “met” for the first time, they were meeting with people they may have known for years.

The formal activity of every day ended with a concert. Each of the teachers performed on the small stage of the Rose theatre. While everything was of interest, these were a special delight. The performers seemed to connect with the audience on a level that was more than what happens when playing for strangers. Students got to share this experience as there were two open mic nights, where students were able to perform in a concert setting. The audience for these was very enthusiastic, an enthusiasm that came from the shared nature of the experience.

Meals were shared in the student cafeteria, so at any meal you would probably find yourself sitting next to someone new, whether that person was in your small ensemble, someone who had been having an online conversation with you, or someone you hadn’t had a chance to chat with since last year. Conversations either started or ended with guitar topics (although there was always an undercurrent of tales from home, travel or other things that kept everyone from becoming too intensely guitar-focused).

After the full day’s activities, and after the evening concert, one of the common rooms in the dorm became the center of an evening get together with wine, beer and assorted snacks. Most of the students and teachers would stop at some point in the evening. The highlights of these gatherings included a rolling game of eight ball, an impromptu concert by Berta Rojas and Nicoletta Tedesco, and a performance by a bluegrass band made up of Simon, Devin and Jacques, with a guest appearance by Caroline Eckman, who made the trip to Boston just to sing with them.

I think I have captured the essence of the summer school here. If anything further bubble up, I reserve the right to add to this.